The Wire

The world's greatest print and online music magazine. Independent since 1982


Mahogany Opera present adaptation of Witkacy's Matka

“A mother and a son, a son and a mother. Things had to be this way and couldn’t be another.”

Mahogany Opera will perform the world premiere of the staged concert version of The Mother. An adaptation of the absurdist play Matka by Polish writer, artist, philosopher, prankster and catastrophist Stanisław Ignacy Witkiewicz aka Witkacy, it's composed by Laurence Osborn, with text by Theo Merz, and it’s directed by Frederic Wake-Walker.

“Indebted to Eastern European theatre,” says Mahogany Opera, “it is a bitingly satirical and explosive response to the traditions of opera. Osborn plunges the audience into an anarchic, surrealist world through taut, intense music that draws on Weill, Birtwistle, and Romitelli, alongside mainstream pop influences.”

The Mother follows the story of philosopher Leon and his explosive and mutually destructive relationship with his mother. It's the latest addition to a small but significant run of music pieces based on Witkacy's work including Edward Bogusławski's Sonata Belzebuba (1977), a chamber opera based on the Witkiewicz play The Beelzebub Sonata, and Polish jazz trumpeter Tomasz Stanko’s album Witkacy Peyotl, released by Poljazz in 1986.

The Mother will be performed on 25 April at London's POSK: Polish Social and Cultural Association. Tickets are available from Eventbrite.